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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 9: Fractures

This is my journal I wrote during the time I was homeless. It is broken up by week for easier reading. Feel free to read it on the web or download the complete .pdf version and print it for reading offline.

Week 421

Day 2941 - 7/20 - Wrong address

Today was pretty good. Though last night had a bit of a funny story. On Monday night I finally had the money to ship my microphone to be checked, so I did that. I checked for my mail at the ex-house Tuesday night and noticed the box had come back. Apparently the person who made the label put my name on both the return address and the delivery address. So I had to go re-ship it tonight. It's good it wasn't really time sensitive, as that may have been very bad. But since it wasn't it was just an odd kind of story.

Overall my day was pretty good. It was a bit slow, as the class I TA for had another shoot. And they'd all done the planning during last class, so for most of the class there wasn't a class for me to help in. So it was good in that I could do whatever, but sad as I didn't get to help as much.

I've been feeling pretty sick lately. There has been a lot of congestion and sneezing. Upon reflection it's probably why I've been so extra tired lately. But too I've felt bad around my heart, and when breathing. I hope it's just my cold and extra bad junk foods lately and nothing more, but I always worry about my health, and not being in a good place physically and emotionally to be able to try changing certain things.

But for now I continue to try and stabilize as best as I can to hang on just a little bit of flexibility. And I try not to spend too much, just enough to balance need versus want, and continue to hang on until my forever better days come along.

Day 2942 - 7/21 - Too sick, too hungry

Today I feel kind of sick. Well, more sick. My eyes hurt. My ears are ringing a bit. I'm so very extremely tired. And I think, because of fighting off my cold, I am extremely tired. I feel like I can barely keep my eyes open.

I still feel very sad. I have money to buy some things, but again I think about the bigger things, the things I can't change, the things that even if and when I do get enough money to make everything better there will still be a few things I may never be able to fix.

But today was peaceful. It was about as good as could be. I'm still sad and worried about my long-term future, but again I am happy the short-term can be much better. I hope, at least, once I'm over my cold it can be.

Day 2943 - 7/22 - The fan

Today was very different. Though even if I hadn't gone to do the car stuff it would have been different due to the camp thing they have going on.

I spent half the day at the car shop. They did the oil change but had a hard time figuring out the problem with the heat. I needed to pay them for extra diagnostic time beyond the free time they tried, but it was ok. They narrowed it down to indeed being an issue with the fan. They aren't entirely sure why, but sometimes it comes on when it is supposed to, sometimes not. So they are saying we should replace the fan motor. Which the part is kind of pricy at $150, but it apparently will only be half an hour of labor to change. Which, even when added to the oil change will total out around $400. Which is super good. I was planning on it being $500 or more before I would consider not doing it (due to the car blue book value only being around $1200 from what I recall.) I was hoping for $250 or less, but I guess that was not to be.

The rest of the day was odd as well. I went to see a movie I've been looking forward to forever. And after that I killed some time at the food store until it was time to hide for the night.

The movie was super good, but several characters were referenced whose actors had passed. And even one of those in the movie had been killed in a freak car accident earlier this year. So it seemed a sad reminder that time moves on. Those we know may go unexpectedly or quicker than we think. And it made me sad to think that there are now so few in my life.

Day 2944 - 7/23 - So fast

Today passed incredibly quickly. It had felt like only a few hours had passed when the sun was setting and it was getting to the blinding time.

Nothing special happened. Though nothing bad happened either. My mind wandered to other games I may want to get due to my emptiness I feel inside from not having any friends and a regular gaming group. So I searched for both video games, and also live games to join. While I may still consider the group I found before, I don't know that I want a place that would just be a random group. Random is random, there are not always connections formed, and that is what I'm missing. Plus, there is no guarantee I'd find a group, nor one with people I'd get along with well if I did.

So I was sad for things I miss. Which I suppose is nothing new. And too, I continue to hold on to hope that may eventually change for the better.

Day 2945 - 7/24 - Sore feets

Today again passed very quickly. It only felt about 1/3 as long as it was. I don' know why it felt so fast. Nothing different or new happened. I did nothing special or unusual. Well, I did make a budget of sorts, to predict where my plan might be thrown off and so I have some kind of idea of where I should be at what time.

But it felt like I've beaten up my feets. As if I'd maybe walked 10 miles or something. Which, I don't know about others, but would be 5-7 hours for me.

I guess it was an ok day. I really have no reason to feel extra sad. But although I am trying to hang on to hope, my greater fears and sad feelings have been difficult to set aside lately.

Day 2946 - 7/25 - Sooooo tired

Today I am so very tired. I'm not really sure why. It was a pretty good day. The morning had a bit of time to play and watch a show. Most of the day I helped in the class I TA for.

But all day I was just so exhausted. I still felt like I've been doing heavy workouts or something. I actually even closed my eyes and dozed off for a few minutes during part of the lecture in class.

Maybe it's because of the stress I still have for the sad things I can't change. Maybe stress from knowing there isn't much more than a year more of classes I could take to delay my financial aid payments. (As well as having a steady strong place to connect online.) Maybe it's because I again feel beaten down by all the sad things in life and feel like I need a break - which I know I can never truly get until I'm back in a home and not worrying about money.

But I hope it's not that. I hope it's just a cold which is still causing me to sneeze and feel congested. And I hope that things will sort themselves out before I run out of time.

Day 2947 - 7/26 - Waiting

Today will likely start pretty slow. I slept in just a touch longer than normal and have headed over to the fix-it shop to do the car work. I guess maybe I should have actually gotten up early as there are now a couple of people here and I'll have to wait a few hours before they start the work. I guess it's ok. I can play offline games, and there are a few I'd like to get through, but still.

I had sad dreams last night. Ones where I was trying to make friends, but people weren't friendly. Ones where I was stressed for some reason, but I don't remember why. I think I was just sad and upset over my life not going forward in the dream, despite having opportunity and being in a new place and home. But now I've woken up sad, tired, and already feeling a bit worn out.

Hopefully when I get to school I can have a sort of second start and be happy and positive in the rest of my day. But that can't be for a few hours, so we'll see.

Week 422

Day 2948 - 7/27 - Old fashion feels wrong

Today I dressed a bit different. Last night at the ex-garage I went through some stuff in storage to make room for new shirts which are on the way. Plus, with the new pants I've gotten over the years, it's been getting very stuffed in the 'drawers' I have access to for cloths. I started with some stuff I won't ever wear anymore and grabbed a long sleeve button shirt to wear as an over-shirt instead of the house shirts I've been wearing for the past nine years.

It felt wrong. It felt out of place, like with the shirts I no longer want to wear due to their logo or message, it felt weird to have this fashion that I haven't worn in nearly 10 years. It was old me, yet not.

In a way I feel, in the same way I feel about the shirts, that part of me is gone. Much like my interests and what I favor has changed, so have the shirts I have worn which are from them. Getting rid of the shirts seems appropriate, even though I know I can never get rid of the part of me that they are associated with.

But it's a current fashion. Many dress this way. It's not unusual or out of place. It just feels weird and unfamiliar to me. Like so many things I used to do all the time before being homeless, it now feels forgotten and out of place.

So I am left pondering. Do I continue to wear my house shirts out of the house as an outer shirt - something I never did while in a home - or do I go back to my button shirts as an over shirt; something I've not yet done since becoming homeless?

Both ways seem foreign and wrong to some degree. Both seem unfamiliar. And while it seems this is the way the current me must be, hybrid out of necessity, instead of dressing to the occasion or time, it seems sad. And in a way it makes me feel more lost than ever to no longer have these clear paths forward, especially when it is such a simple thing. Even more so when such a simple thing feels like it plays such a big part of defining who I am to those around me.

Day 2949 - 7/28 - No shirt

Today I went to a different local store to check for some long sleeve casual-ish shirts. The store had one brand, which is the brand of my house shirt. But there was only one long sleeve shirt style. As I guessed, there really wasn't much there due to it being summer. It was ok looking, but it was also $25, a touch higher than I'd really like to pay. So I'll check online to see if it's cheaper. Plus, I'd really need at least three shirts, and only having really one that means I'd need two or three more. I'm not sure I'd want to spend that much, nor if I really truly have that much spare room to store them. Clothing size adds up quickly.

I also found a donation bin and dropped off the half dozen items I had there. It made me kind of sad. It's not that I wanted those shirts. I haven't worn them in 15, maybe even 20 years for some. It was really about a loss of identity. I get t-shirts with designs of things I love, or in the case of game shirts stuff I am playing at the time. So being so far off from who I am now, it wasn't really about losing that part of me, nor really the identity of me. I think the sadness came from it being tied to my identity in a 'look at me, this is who I am' way. No one knows what those shirts mean in my life. No one in my life would care. No one knows the change and loss of love of that thing in my life.

So my sad wasnt really about the shirts. Nor considering the $20-25 each was new for the ones which weren't free. It was that part of me is over. No one was there to celebrate those things with me back then, nor now, nor would I care about those things now.

And it was about my future. The new shirts, the new long sleeve style if I were to get those. Would anyone notice? Would anyone care in the future? Or will it always be as it has been, relatively or completely unnoticed? And will my shirts, and I, continue to go unnoticed by others and left unapproached and alone with what I enjoy with no one to share my happy things with.

Day 2950 - 7/29 - Two shirt change

Today I spent most of the day in the library. It was shaded, so that was good. Most times they have the blinds open and there are bad reflections. But I would guess that the 90F and near 90F temperatures lately have made them decide to keep them closed. It felt way too cold though. Maybe it's because I'm more comfortable near 80F than 70F. But I wonder too if I've been homeless so long that all outside temperatures and unusual eating habits have altered my ability to normally regulate my body's heat.

I thought about change - how due to the camp at college I'm forced to change my Friday routine, at least for the moment. And I pondered if I want change in my life. We certainly need some change as people. Changes cause us to think differently. Experiencing new things like different food or different people expands what we know of ourselves and what we enjoy.

But for years I've been forced to change. Not out of being in situations I want, but by being in situations I have little to no control in. Forced change, change which is adaptation in order to maintain balance; that I think is bad. That, I think, has as much of a chance of causing imbalance.

As I was in the library thinking about my house shirt, that was not a change I chose or wanted. So I thought about chosen change. Those times we take a risk. And though it likely will basically never really be noticed or understood, I decided to go ahead and get the long sleeve button shirts. And as pricy as it was, I am glad I decided to. I tried them on to be sure and both colors I was unsure of actually looked pretty good on me. I said it out loud to myself, and although it doesn't really qualify, it was nice to hear a compliment like that. It was something small and really inconsequential, yet right now such small things really do have a lot of meaning and significance.

Hopefully in the future I can continue to make changes that are by choice, for things I think I want and will move some aspect of me forward. Thinking back I can't really remember the last choice I made before this (where it wasn't by force or necessity.)

Day 2951 - 7/30 - Net shade

Today was a pretty good Saturday. It mostly was normal, but I got quite a bit of extra shade on what was supposed to still be a very warm day. There has been some scaffolding up to the roof of the building where I sit on weekends. I'd guess they are finally being serious about the machine that has been wubble wubble fub fub lately. Though it may be more, as it seems the scaffolding is all the way around the building now.

Regardless, today there was a light web-like mesh all around the outside, but pulled open where the entrances are. So my area I sit in had a big screen curtain all around it. It kept me extra cool, and when the blinding time came there was only a small bit of overly bright light. In general it stayed shaded like it would be in the morning al through the day, and did not have the three hours of otherwise direct sun and extreme heat.

I decided to try and reach out to some local gaming groups again. I had to get added to the groups to post, so I'll make a post when that happens. I still question if I can afford it because even with money the cost will likely be high enough to be a concern. So we'll see. With regular income the cost would be nothing. Maybe half an hour of work or less per week. But with no income, even at just $7 a week it would add up very quickly, so we'll see.

I am very super tired lately, but I feel hopeful for the attempts to change. I don't know if I will get a gaming group, or if my new cloths will make a difference to anyone but me, but at least for the moment they feel like hopeful steps forward.

Day 2952 - 7/31 - Excited, yet sad

Today was the same, but also different. The morning was almost the same as normal. But for some reason the church group was not here. I hope that doesn't become normal, as it's nice to get in and micro a soup on the weekend.

The afternoon brought some hopeful news. I reached out to a few gaming pages on the social media and one replied back that a new campaign set would be starting at the end of August, so that looks like a good opening to get into a new group at a local shop.

I'm still unsure though. Any open place with strangers would be a bit weird. Though several 'liked' my post, so that made me feel very welcome. I'm most worried about the long-term costs. Even the closest location, which likely wouldnt be the one I'd be going to, would be about $15 a month in gas and other costs. Not really a big cost at all, but with no income that cost will add up very quickly. So I will have to very carefully consider it, and if I do decide to do it that cost would certainly have to go in the budget. Without checking numbers, even something that small could throw off the timetable by months.

With the good news came some sadness though. I am not leaving a house freshly showered and fluffed to go to such a place. So I worry about how I will look. I worry about how I will feel and transition emotionally into that frame of mind. I worry about how comfortable and safe I will feel. Will there be judgment? Will I be self conscious about how I look? Even simple things like not being able to tend my faux-hawk easily now that parts are nearly probably four inches long makes me feel self-conscious.

Again I suppose I will see how things are when and if it happens. It is still three or four weeks away, so who knows what would happen during that time. I can wait. It's been closer to 25 years since I've had people I regularly gamed with. So another few weeks before seeing if a thing will pan out or not is fine.

I feel positive about the upcoming possible change with both my new cloths and possibly going to the gaming place. But I also feel worried and saddened. As with all things in my life lately, this is something that can quickly change or go away again as the money runs out. And though it shouldn't be a source of sadness and pain, as with all things I can't control lately, I can never know how it will turn out until it happens.

Day 2953 - 8/1 - The between spaces

Today I feel very out of it. I remember the day, I know what I did, but in a way I feel like not me. Almost like those times where I feel like someone else watching the story of my life.

It might just be a bit of a cold and lack of sleep. I've been getting kept up lately, and it only takes a few nights of that to knock me almost completely out of whack and not feel like my usual self. It could be too because I'm coming off of what are now all long weekends. There are almost as many days I am my homeless me as there are the me that feels normal and has purpose. More not so if you count that only two days out of the week are days I TA.

I guess it was a good enough day. But my mind still wanders to what ifs. It thinks about having a bit of money and what I can do, and the me a month ago had none, and the me a few years from now when I again will have none.

I am the current homeless me, the me that is changing, and still have fragments of the me that was. I guess lately I've been feeling very between spaces and off balance.

Day 2954 - 8/2 - The shirt exchange

Today started a bit different. Yesterday I wore one of my new long sleeve button shirts. Mostly it felt ok, but I guess what I didn't check for was the underarms on the sleeves were a bit pinchy, and when sitting forward my back curves and it pinches a bit more, as well as causing the cuff to get pulled about 2" short of my wrist. So this morning I went to swap for a bigger size.

It's weird though because I have to go to XXL for the sleeves to not pinch at all, but at that size my tummy is swimming in extra shirt. It's like they expect everyone to have a beer belly or something. So the XL is what I got, which only has a tiny bit of pinch and only a little extra in the tummy area. Which I guess is ok, as it will mostly be half or all the way unbuttoned when I wear them.

Other than that my day has just started. I am super sleepy and saddened by the imperfections of my shirts. But thinking about that, I suppose it is our imperfections, our weaknesses and flaws as people, that make us unique and interesting.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2016
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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